Artist in Residence Sarah Taylor Silverwood – Week 1

It is coming to the end of my first week as Artist in Residence at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. I’ve had a busy week moving into the studio and meeting many members of staff and public.  I’ve also had a chance to immerse myself in the amazing art and museum collection. I’m here for a month and during that time I will be making a new piece of work inspired by the collections. I’m really enjoying working in the new studio space:

Studio in the Activity Zone at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Studio in the Activity Zone at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

My work is mainly drawing based, and previously I’ve made drawings that are often reminiscent of comic books, maps or landscapes. You can find out more about my work here: www.sarahsilverwood.com.

You might have passed by and seen me working in the studio, which is in the Activity Zone. With a large glass wall I feel like a museum object myself! I like to see how the public are interacting with the art work in the galleries, so have been sketching as they walk by.

I often use historical ideas and themes in my work, especially in connection with the City of Birmingham, so a residency at BMAG is a great chance to make new work. I have got a lot of enthusiasm for working with narrative, and enjoy weaving some sort of storytelling aspect into my work. I spent some time in the Birmingham history galleries, discovering the importance of Birmingham’s industrial past. Helen from the Front of House team gave me a quick history of the gallery itself, explaining how it has changed over the past century. The studio wall is filling up with images like these:

I was particularly struck by a door from the old Debtor’s Prison in Birmingham, which I made a quick sketch of. It has a sign that reads, ‘Note the bars thro which charitable passers-by dropped coins to the inmates’.

Next week I’ll be spending some time at the Museum Collections Centre with History Curator Jo-Ann Curtis. It is an amazing place where many of the collections are stored. I’ll also be exploring some of the Fine Art collection with curator Victoria Osborne.

My studio is open to the public every Wednesday 1-4pm. I’ll also be posting on the blog every week. I will be running a free family drawing workshop on Saturday 12th October 1-3pm. We will be painting the walls and windows and decorating the studio with an amazing cityscape!  Check the BMAG website for more information: http://www.bmag.org.uk/events?id=2918

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